Personal "rules" about safety buffer?

I have been using Beeminder extensively for a few years. When I started, I aimed for a 1 week buffer on all my goals, so I treated nearly anything with under 7 days buffer as a soft-beemergency. Since then, I’ve had a few life crises and a few really easy goals that work best for with with near daily beemergencies. During one of those life crises, I lost the week buffer on my goals, and I never really worked on it. During a Beeminder review today, I decided I’m going to aim for a week buffer on nearly all my goals again.

I know a lot of people need to “skate the edge of the road” for Beeminder to help them, but I’m not that way… weird, huh?

What’s your personal aim for safety buffer? How many beemergencies do you plan on having? How many do you actually have?


3 days. By default, I display goals with 2 days or less to derailment, so if I have 3 or more, I’m good. (I also have autoratchet to 2 days on many of my goals.)

That is not to say I succeed - usually I don’t. But I seldom work on goals with 3 or more days buffer.

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Just like you, I tend to prefer maintaining all goals green with a one week buffer (or higher). I find that quantifying my goals at all is enough to motivate me, and then impending beemergencies force me to prioritize in a balanced way rather than by whim of the moment.

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I personally love skating the edge of the road on most of my goals. On a daily basis I probably have at least 10 goals due. What works for me is making sure that they are super simple and actionable. For example, before 10:00 AM I have goals to floss/mouthwash, drink a cup of almond milk, fill up my water bottle, and take my vitamins. All of these goals can be completed in 5-7 minutes.

For my bigger goals I do try to keep a larger buffer. I have a goal for reading fantasy/sci-fi books and I try to make sure I have at least 7 days of buffer because I do not want to get into a position in which I have to read a 400 pg. book in one day.


I have a handful of goals that take less than 3 minutes each to handle, and I don’t ride with any buffer on those.

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A bunch of my goals (pills, writing a to-do list, journaling) actually only work for me when they’re red every day. My bigger goals, that take more time, I try to build up buffer, but not in any systematic way. I have them start beemailing me warnings if I have only a day of buffer, so that’s a sort of soft beemergency that I need to at least plan some time to deal with them in the next couple of days.

I have a pretty strong tendency to ignore goals that have more than 2 days of buffer; they fall so far below all the red quick goals, it’s hard to even notice them, tbh.


I try to keep all my goals red. Green goals are basically useless because I don’t ever do them, so trying to have a buffer would defeat the purpose for me.

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